Crossdresser Shame – Secrecy, Silence and Judgment

Avoid the shame and secrecy of crossdressing

Today I was listening to a TED talk on shame by Brene Brown. She said, “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”

I got shivers up my spine as I thought about my transgender experience. Shame has been a constant companion through my journey, it has haunted me even as I asked the question of my readers,  “Are you ashamed of being a crossdresser” and even when I stand on the mountaintop victorious over shame I’m aware that it still bides it’s time, hoping for an insurrection of my spirit.

Secrecy

Those in the transgender community know secrecy well. It has been our bed fellow since before we knew what it meant. Growing up in secrecy we hid our feelings. As we blossomed into adulthood we desperately fought to keep our deepest darkest from others. Like a cancer from within, secrecy ate our souls.

Silence

Like twin demons dancing down the path to despair, silence and secrecy skip hand in hand. Our desire for secrecy kept us silent, and the silence of the community kept others silent. A lot has changed in the last 10 years. The voices of those who can no longer embrace secrecy has sent a cry of hope out into the silence. This was the reason I started Crossdresser Heaven. At first it was my cry for help – to myself, to understand what I was going through. Then it became my cry of hope – small though it may be, I added my voice to the chorus of those offering advice, encouragement and solace. I told my transgender story. I shared your transgender stories.

Judgement

Yet judgement wandered among us still – the judgement of our hearts, the judgement of those with little understanding or care. They condemned us as sinners, as heathens and accused us of all manner of debauchery. They stripped down our identity to a single word, erasing all our good deeds and contributions to hang the sign, “Transgender” around our necks. For many the shame was so strong that we bowed our heads and wore this brand as if it were tattooed on our hearts.

Empathy

It does not need to be this way. We do not need to hide in secret, weep in silence or cower at the judgement foisted upon us. Dear readers, lovely ladies and beautiful kindred spirits, I understand your walk. I know your shame, I feel your struggle, and I hold your hand as you get back up one more time. We are here together. Alone they can isolate us, ridicule us. Together we are strong. Together we can change laws and melt hearts. Together we can find comfort and share warmth.

Together we can pour the salve of empathy on shame. Dousing it so thoroughly that no secrecy, or silence, or judgement can ever infect the beauty of who we are created to be. For all those who have not heard it yet, today I say to you, “me too.

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Dedicated to creating a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for everyone in the transgender community.
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  1. Profile photo of Rebecca Smith
    Rebecca Smith 1 week ago

    I love that these older posts pop up from time to time. Very timely in my case. So, my fiance knows about my femme side, is supportive and loves me. For more than a couple years now.

    But, the shame is soooo ingrained that I still sheepishly fold my girly clothes on laundry day and yesterday rushed to change when she came home unexpectedly. I got caught and, far from that ingrained shaming that seems second nature, she reassured me that it’s all good, and I don’t have to hide anything. Obviously, that made me feel so much better and yet embarrassed at my reaction.

    So, those with a supportive partner, how long does it take to get over that need for secrecy and shame?

    I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from the other girls on here, and am enjoying this journey. My reaction today tells me I still have a way to go and feels like a step backward. But- the support my fiance gave me also gives me hope I can get past the shame.

  2. rebecca 1 week ago

    anyone wana chat?

  3. rebecca 1 week ago

    All your stories have mad me me a little more comfortable. Thank you

  4. Profile photo of Stefanie
    Stefanie 2 months ago

    Shame
    Plenty
    Guilt too
    But now i accept myself
    Told my
    Wife
    She is supportive. We went for a pedicure together she picked my color
    Im in 50s dressing 40 yrs

    I accept myself now
    But still struggle with my Christian beliefs
    Its not the xdressing its the sensuality that i tjink is the sin
    Very Happy to be here my wife knows and encouraged her to look in on
    Us
    Me
    Heterosexual
    Male
    Not looking to pass
    But if i want to wear a bra and some panties and my jeans and herls why cant I ?

  5. delbra dawn 2 months ago

    we are what god made us to be .i have nothing to be ashamed of. god had a reason for making us the way we are. if others don’t like it they can take it up with god.love and kisses delbra dawn

  6. Georgette Marie 2 months ago

    I also feel ashamed and have been dressing from age 12; I turn 60 in April! I am married and have kept this secret from her. I find it impossible to tell her or any of my children. Brought up in a Christian family and I still am a Christian, but I feel so guilty about wanting to be a woman. I love feeling feminine, I love the idea of expressing myself with beautiful clothes, jewelary and makeup. I know that inside I am a female, I’m just so afraid of losing everyone over this that I keep it hidden except for those that I talk to that are just like me. The struggle is real and I wish it were easier for us that were always told that it is wrong 🙁

  7. Brandie starr Gregorie 3 months ago

    I. Am finally coming out of my. Shell building my wardrobe up feeling good about myself looking for my job to go thru transiton I thank Vanessa and crossdressers heaven for letting me be apart of this community still have a ways to go but will not turn around.I will be ashamed no longer. Thank u.

  8. Profile photo of Danielle P
    Danielle P 6 months ago

    So telling. So poignant. I live with all of these. The burden I feel right now, of having to live a dual life-of having to live with the responsibilities of being a man, a husband, a father-and yet my feminine self wants to be seen, wants to be heard, and yet, has to remain in the shadows. I am tired of living a half life. I’m simply tired of living as a man. We have all been affected by the social conditioning of the world we live in. There is a quote that I am reminded of constantly in my struggle. “We are encouraged to be true to ourselves, to be who we are meant to be, but when we embrace our true self, those same voices say, ‘No, no. Not like that!'” Maybe I just haven’t surrounded myself with people who truly want me to be myself. All my life, those who claim to want what’s best for me, have tried to label me and cram me into one of their tidy little boxes, just so they can sleep better at night. The sad part is, it’s been going on so long, I still try to fit into that box, though Danielle is resisting now. She’s tired, too. Tired of being shoved into the shadows. Still, shame, secrecy, family obligations and the pressure of societal norms weighs heavy tonight.

  9. Profile photo of Lea
    Lea 6 months ago

    Hi Vanessa,

    Thank your for such an inspiring post, you’re right, it doesn’t have to be this way. Shame is really that companion which stops us from pushing ourselves to just be accepted by our family, friends, and coworkers. When I think of coming out to people I know, I can’t help but feel the shame just getting multiplied. Yet, when I crossdress and interact with people who don’t really know me, I feel a sense of independence, liberation, activism, who is challenging their perceptions, unafraid of what they really think. If only people who know me and those who don’t could look past the crossdressing part and see the real me, then there would be no feeling of shame.

    I did watch an uplifting video today by Jacob Tobia, who sets the example that it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to be gender queer, it’s okay to look like a guy dressed and acting like a woman:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/video/welcome-to-queer-2-0-698560067526

    Lea

  10. Profile photo of Maria Young
    Maria Young 6 months ago

    Hi Girls I loved this article and yes I too felt much shame over the years and still do it’s shrinking though I think as I get older my true self gets stronger it seems along with all the other struggles I’ve had to face it is a source of much ridicule and denial but I continue to move forward the best I can My transition progresses daily although for now I’m kinda stuck where I’m at but I’m just using the time to perfect my look mainly at least Love & Hugs Maria

  11. Carmila55 7 months ago

    Hi am Carmila55 my cross dressing started at the age 14 I read the sale papers and stare at women wearing bras and panties wondering how i would i look good in them. Then one night i tried on my mothers clothes then fit well, and i got hardon. It turned me on, but I always felt different from other boy’s. At beach laying on my stomach I had little double a breasts. And my penis was below normal size. My first wife it said it disgust her me wearing her nightgown. She cheated on me, then I met her girlfriend she encouraged me to dress up. I was very happy then.we divorced. For stupid reasons I met alot of women who encouraged me to dress up I didn’t feel loved. Then I met another women she was five yrs older then me, she was English we had a great. Relationship but she drank to much. After I retired I left the my state moved to fl I have to roommates kim is gay and her sister did my makeup I went to a bar called the metro I passed as a women. Then I grew back my goatee, I wear bras and panties everyday, and I sleep in nightgowns it relaxes me. I need a woman to understand me its very hard to find. Am sorry I left a few other things out. My female hormones are perfect my male hormones are so low, 0.53 i need a hormone shot every 3 wks to maintain my bones, I also have no visible Adams apple, am confused about my body. I know am not gay or bisexual I want a women. With love Carmila55

  12. […] Publicado originalmente en Crossdersser Heaven […]

  13. Profile photo of KerryMichelle
    KerryMichelle 9 months ago

    I used to be ashamed of being a crossdresser. But I finally realized I shouldn’t be ashamed of something that brings me so much pleasure and doesn’t bother anyone else. I keep it to myself except for talking to other like minded people. Life is just to short to not enjoy something that has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.
    KerryMichelle

    • rebecca 1 week ago

      I’m scared to dress in public. I wear panties under my jeans nearly everyday and lingurie some days buta soon as I get home I’m Rebecca til morning. I’d love to dress and chat sometime. I love girl talk.

  14. Profile photo of Brenda_an
    Brenda_an 9 months ago

    Wow…so many replies. I would caution the cheering squad, there are good reasons to be afraid.

    Two of three of them are, retirement difficulties as generally the staff of a home are the lower class of
    society and quite base values are the norm. The other, is getting proper medical care…again there are doctors and staff, that don’t want to be around or treat “our kind”.

    It use to be the preserve of the gay population…now it seems we the third gender, are the disadvantage and most vulnerable.

    Sorry to rain on the parade.

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